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Lily Pad Alternative

Lily Pad vs Sunchill

If you’ve found yourself here, you’ve probably been researching float mats and Lily Pads, looking for the perfect way to spend summer on the water! Investing in a floaty is a great way to create memories with friends and family for years - no seriously - we’ve had our Sunchill for three years now and it’s been the center of our core memories the past few summers. Because what’s better than floating with your favorite people?! 
Float mat alternative and inflatable sunchill comparison

Before you take the plunge and purchase your float mat, let me share a few pros and cons, comparing the Lily Pad and a Sunchill, because they’re very different. I’ve owned both for a few years and have taken them to the beach, lake, and even the river, which led me to several observations…

  1. Transporting the Floaty

The first summer I lived in Tennessee it was obvious that spending weekends on the Lake was a MUST. We bought a boat (which made us a lot of friends, ha!) and immediately after we purchased a Lily Pad- at first, we were so excited…looking forward to relaxing on the water with our group of friends - - but then - - enter the big, bulky Lily Pad…. First off, unless you have a TON of trunk space, forget trying to squish that thing into the back of your car. It’s simply too cumbersome. Once we finally jammed it into my trunk, we quickly regretted lugging it from the parking lot down to the dock in 98 degree humidity -hello husband and wife argument! 😂 Okay so then we finally get it on the boat and then, well…you guessed it! This clunky float mat took up the entire boat…easy to transport? Not. So. Much.

Sunchill packs down into a small bag the size of a sleeping bag

Fast forward to the following summer, I invested in a Sunchill so I could have a floaty that would fit in my car, no problem. I was pleasantly surprised that it folds down to the size of a sleeping bag so it can be easily transported in any vehicle - phew! Then once it was time for the long, hot trek to the dock, it was a piece of cake to throw the Sunchill bag over my shoulder and carry it down to the dock. To make things even easier, we stored the Sunchill in a seat compartment on the boat until we anchored down, and then we just inflated it with the pump it comes with - - and it took less than two minutes to inflate. And perhaps our favorite part, the way the Sunchill is designed (picture a water hammock) allows your body to be in the water (which is necessary in 98-degree HUMID heat) whereas the Lily Pad only allows you to float on top of the mat, making it hard to beat the heat. Which leads me to my next observation…

  1. The Chill Factor

Right off the bat, I’ve always been a sucker for the Sunchill design because of its ultra-firm rim allowing for ultimate comfort - this rim acts as a headrest, backrest, and even a bench, allowing you to CHILL the way you want to. Wish you could lay down, but still keep your head above the water? The Sunchill rim is so firm, your head will stay above water, keeping your hair completely dry! Want to sit and socialize but don’t want your back to hurt? Easy! The rim acts as a backrest that keeps you propped up so you can keep the good convo flowing. And even better yet - yes, the Sunchill does have cup holder attachments, but you can also use the rim as a tabletop to set your drink on without it tipping over…Unfortunately, I can’t say any of those things about the Lily Pad… 

Group of people relaxing in sunchill floaty with firm rim and cup holders

  1. The Three Seasons That Aren’t Summer

Storing our float mat has always been a topic of conversation between my husband and I because, well, we can never find a big enough place to store it in our garage. It was always in the way, no matter what corner of the garage we tried to cram it in. The Sunchill however, changed all of that with its compact design and storage bag that takes up less room than my big REI sleeping bag. Needless to say, my husband definitely prefers the Sunchill…After all, that’s his sacred man cave. 

I hope sharing my experience with my Lily Pad vs the Sunchill was insightful in helping you decide which floaty is best for your lifestyle. 

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Stay Chill!